MANILA (UPDATED) - The percentage of Filipinos who believe they are poor dropped in the last quarter of 2017, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released this week.
Forty-four percent of 1,200 respondents in the December poll considered themselves as poor. This translates to around 10 million families, the SWS said in a statement.
Self-rated poverty declined 3 points from 47 percent or 10.9 million families in September 2017, the SWS said.
The percentage of self-rated poor families was at 50 percent in March 2017 and 44 percent in June 2017.
This yields an average self-rated poverty (SRP) of 46 percent for all quarters of 2017, 2 points short of the record-low average 44 percent of 2016, the pollster added.
BREAKDOWN ACROSS REGIONS
SWS attributed the decrease in SRP during the 4th quarter to "a sharp decrease" in Balance Luzon and "slight decreases" in Metro Manila and the Visayas, offset by an increase in Mindanao.
Balance Luzon refers to the main northern region excluding the capital.
SRP there decreased by 10 points from 50 percent in September 2017 to 40 percent in December 2017. This is the lowest since the record-low 34 percent in June 2017, SWS said.
SRP slipped 3 points in Manila to 28 percent and 3 points in Visayas to 53 percent.
It rose 7 points in Mindanao to 52 percent.
The 4th quarter reading also showed that only 32 percent of those polled or an estimated 7.3 million families considered the type of food they eat as "mahirap" or "food-poor."
This is unchanged from the 32 percent or estimated 7.4 million families in September 2017, SWS said.
Food poverty was at 35 percent in March 2017 and 32 percent in Jue 2017.
This gives an average self-rated food poverty of 33 percent in 2017, 2 points above the record-low 31 percent in 2016.
Respondents said they needed a monthly budget of P15,000 for them not to be considered poor. However, they lack P5,000 to meet that monthly threshold.
Duterte has promised to uplift the poor by spreading development to the countryside, increasing spending on agriculture and lowering income tax rates.
The December 8-16 SWS survey was first published by BusinessWorld, and has sampling error margins of ±2.5 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.